Pig Readin’

Joel: We Iowan’s do things a little differently. But just because we can read a pig’s ears doesn’t mean we’re too different. Just enough, in my opinion.

Ok, truth is, probably most of us can’t read a pigs ears. But darn it all if I didn’t get the “you didn’t know that?” face when my cerebral shortcoming was made known. Evidently I was the only uninformed one in the room that day.

So I set to figure this business of pig readin’ out.

Long story short: Two ears. Four quadrants on each one. Each has a point value. Maximum of two notches made per quadrant. Minimum ¼” apart. Combination of said notches and their values equals a number. Left ear is the pig’s number, right ear is the litter number.

So this little piggy:


is affectionately known as 92-7.

Iowans are the opposite of commodity. One could argue that we’re unique to a fault. But until I stop getting a friendly wave when I let someone into my lane, I’ll proudly claim every possible person of interest that has even the slightest trace of Iowan in them. We all do it. It’s pretty funny.

Doing things a little differently is a risk. But with it comes considerable economic advantage. What do you get when you shamelessly flaunt the unique (and sometimes embarrassing) qualities of our state for 11 straight days in August? A million people paying at least $7 bucks each just to see it.

etc!graphics loves the unique. We enjoy finding out why your business is different than the next. That’s what gets our brain juices flowing. Our idea of a good time? Delivering the finished logo concept that starts your company on a unique pathway to a polished Iowa establishment. We’ve been doing it since 1988, and we’re pleased as Hot Beef Sundae!

Get Your Business Rolling!

We love the unique, and the Iowa State Fair is full of it.

What’s your most unique State Fair experience? Answer below to enter to win a 4-pack of tickets and $40 in spendin’ money. Entries accepted until 4pm. We’ll pick our favorite and announce a winner at 5pm.

Oh, what’s mine you ask? Pigeon Rolling.

Kick Your Business Into High Gear

Congrats to 80/35 winner Macy Koch!

macy koch

We hope you had a blast!

Pictured: Macy with @joelwithetc at the main entrance to 80/35 in Downtown Des Moines.

80-35 Ticket Give Away!

Wyckoff Van Wrap 2010

Stereotypes Are A Real Timesaver

Stereotype your ideal client.

Yes, you heard me, and I meant it.  But not in the way that you might be thinking…

I once saw a T-shirt from The Onion that had “Stereotypes are a real timesaver” emblazoned across the front.  Funny, a little off color, but in a business sense, very true.  When you look at your list of customers, is there one that jumps off the page?  Is there one that you would clone if you had the ability to do so?  Are they Mac or PC?  iPhone or Blackberry?  Young?  Old?  Planners?  Wing-its?  Where do they go?  What hobbies do they have?  Where is their favorite place to go for dinner?  Movie genre? 

Find the things that make your ideal client tick.  Find the things that define the essence of your ideal client.  Find the places your ideal clent hangs out, and then go there!  Chances are, if you stereotype properly, you will find that more of your ideal clients are out there.

Effective Vehicle Graphics

Great Graphics! 
Why the Great Graphics Give Away? Small business is our target market. We want our customers to reach graphic success.  The Great Graphics Give Away is our way to help you maximize resources you already own. If your company has unlabeled vehicles or trailers, you are missing a valuable advertising opportunity. And if you already have labeled vehicles, we can help you make them more effective. Great Vehicle Graphics will literally go miles for your business. How?
Cost per view. You can put great graphics on a vehicle for the same or less cost than one ad in the newspaper. Print ads are limited in time and exposure. Your vehicle is seen many times during the normal course of daily business and life of the vehicle. Pennies per view! 

Visibility. Even if you only own a few vehicles, great graphics will get noticed. You will be surprised how many people will say they ‘see you all over town’, because they actually do.  They actually see you. 

Advertising Horsepower.Repeat your marketing message on all your vehicles and own several mobile billboards!
 So what makes graphics great?  Great graphics are:

• Planned. Great graphics are planned by strategic design. Effective vehicle graphics are synced with the big picture marketing plan. With no plan, a business may put its best foot forward, but the second shoe doesn’t match.
• Relevant. Great graphics have a focused message, and the main message is the first thing you see. The message connects with the desired target audience, and should set your completely apart from your competitors.
• Consistent. Want to be memorable?  Great graphics are consistent and faithfully reproduced each time. If you need to gain more visibility for your business, consistency is key.
• Effective. Great graphics are designed so the important things are visible first from a reasonable distance. Every detail is coordinated and consistent.
Great Graphics do NOT:
• alter your company logo or colors.
• use the exact same colors your main competitor uses.
• add multiple irrelevant ‘effects’ until the message is lost.  Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
• state the Gettysburg Address in two square feet. People don’t have time to read very much as a vehicle goes whizzing by. Keep it simple.
• use narrow letters or highly decorated letters for bullet lists or common information. From a distance, they are too hard to read.
• use large graphic images that have nothing to do with your line of business.
• look like you did-it-yourself. Would you, or should you cut your own hair, even if you can? Ineffective advertising is very expensive. Pay for professional design once, and the replication of that design will be an investment, not an expense. Or worse yet, a liability. 
• forget to add the phone number or website contact information to the back of your vehicle.
Don’t forget to sign up for the Great Graphics Give Away! 
See our home page for details.  Sign up today and see how etc!graphics can help your business attract new customers!

Announcing . . .

thinc! positive Winners!

A special thank you to all the participants of the thinc! positive forum! We appreciate everyone’s efforts to find the good stuff in a difficult economic environment, even when the good stuff may be hard to find! We are very pleased to announce the following winners:

First Prize, Amazon Kindle Wireless Reader

My Name: Chad Carrington

Chad Carrington

My Company Name: Chad Carrington

A little bit about my Company and what we sell: I provide consulting and technical expertise regarding technology to keep businesses running smoothly and making a profit.

A little bit about me and who I am away from waork: My wife and I have 4 children, ages 11 – 18. We home school them all (graduated one last year), play a lot of games and like to take driving vacations together. My children and I love to hunt and hike. We all like to camp.

Something about me that no one knows: Well if I told you, then everyone would know!

Second Prize, 8 Gb Apple IPod Nano

My Name: Lynda Richards

Lynda Richards

My Company Name: Images by Lynda Richards, Hartford, IA,  www.imagesbylyndarichards.com

A little bit about my Company and what we sell: Photography’s my thing!  I love working with families, high school seniors, children and all. Judging photography at the Iowa State Fair has been a fun side line.  Learning new techniques and adding to my product line keeps me busy and attending Professional Photographers Seminars and training events keeps me up to date.  Come see me and let’s work out something fun for you!

A little bit about me and who I am away from work: My husband is a farmer and my in home business works well for us.  I belong to several organizations including a garden club, photography club, social club and am a member of Community United Presbyterian Church.

Something about me that no one knows:  I am an avid reader!

Third Prize, iPod Shuffle

My Name: Jeff Newsom

Jeff Newsom

My Company Name: None at the moment

A little bit about what I do and my previous work: The best job I ever had was in California as a senior designer at Superior Electrical Advertising. I got to work on a wide variety of levels in architectural, structural and creative design. I had the pleasure of writing entire sign criteria and guidelines ranging from local strip malls, to writing entire city codes. I would really love to do that kind of work again, but have found Iowa to be a little lacking on the creative employment positions. And in this economy, 20 years of experience is getting harder to justify as an acceptable.

A little bit about me and who I am away from work: I was born and raised in rural Iowa and lived in Los Angeles, CA for the better part of the last decade. I was a daily surfer and miss the ocean and mountains with a passion. I love spending time with my 3 yr old daughter and watching her learn and grow. I love gardening, photography and furniture making if I ever had time to do any of it again.

Something about me that no one knows: I have a titanium spine, literally and figuratively.

In addition, free small business coaching sessions were awarded to several participants with Des Moines’ own Platinum Master Action Coach Monte Wyatt.  Monte ranks in the top 5% of Action Coaches in the US, and is passionate about helping business owners who want to make a positive change in their business.  Action Coach operates in more than 26 countries and has more than 1000 offices around the world.  The company is internationally recognized as the leading global business coaching firm. We recommend Action Coach to jump start your small business. Visit www.actioncoach.com to find a coach near you!

Congratulation to all of our winners!!! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2010 in your business!

thinc! positive

Change. Few people are fond of it, let alone thankful for it. It has been a tough year for the most seasoned entrepreneur. It is easy to run a business in fair weather with endless budgets. But true entrepreneurs are made when the environment heats up. Even if we evolve kicking and screaming, forced change can yield some surprising and unexpected rewards.

Think about it.  Opportunities still abound. Adverse conditions push us into new territories where we never would have thought to go. They cause us to see opportunities we never would have seen before. We improve our products. We improve our systems.  We emerge a lean, mean machine, better prepared for the next round in the fight. Increased obstacles provide the perfect climate for invention. Limitations forge real creativity. Unlikely heroes are born in crisis. Crises beget some of the best innovations. The best lesson:  We learn not to take even one customer for granted.

We believe a positive spirit is contagious. We believe in looking for the positive, even when it seems hard to find. And we hope the whole idea is positively contagious, because we have never met a truly thankful person that wasn’t truly happy.

So share an experience, lesson, or positive change that was born in adversity. It may be so small a change that no one else would even applaud, (but it’s a huge improvement for you). Post something small (like a song), that has helped you get through. It may help someone else get through. Small changes can change the world. A one-degree change is miles wide in future perspective.

Don’t be surprised if our Guest Author, Grace Guerilla, throws a banana to those with especially brave or creative posts. She is our Small Business Evolution Specialist, and she applauds healthy change.

We use this opportunity to express our thanks for each and every customer and for each and every relationship we have gained throughout the past 21 years. Our success is yours.

Prize Information:

All contributors’ names and/or email addresses will be automatically entered in a random drawing to win:

Grand Prize: Amazon Kindle Wireless Reader, valued at $259.00. And a $50.00 Kindle Store gift card to download your first few books.

Second Prize: An 8GB iPod Nano, valued at $149.00

Third Prize: A 2 GB iPod Shuffle, valued at $59.00

Fourth Prizes:  In addition to the prizes listed above, three local business owners will win a FREE consultation with Des Moines, IA area Platinum Master Action Coach, Monte Wyatt, valued at $495.00. You must be a business owner to win.

For more information on Action Coach, please visit www.actioncoach.com

Rules: No Purchase Necessary. Post between November 25th and December 16th 2009. You can comment as often as you like, but your name will be submitted into the drawing once. One prize per person. Winners will be contacted by email by the end of the business day on December 18,2009. Winners must respond by 5:00 pm on Dec. 21 in order to claim your prize and provide additional information to enable delivery of your prize. Winner may grant permission to use their picture and comments in future marketing. We reserve the right to remove inflammatory and offensive posts.

The views and opinions expressed in blog posts in thinc!Blogging about Business are not necessarily the views and opinions of the thinc! blog or of Etc! Graphics Inc.

focus on the positive

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